A two-alarm fire in a Cecil County apartment where the electricity had been disconnected killed one man and left about 10 people homeless yesterday, fire officials said.
Allen Ward, deputy chief fire marshal, said the fire on Bertram Court in North East was reported shortly after 7 a.m. by neighbors in The Pier apartment complex.
The victim, Anthony Ruley, 23, of North East, was found lying face-down in the bedroom of the apartment where the fire broke out, Mr. Ward said.
The father of two was not a tenant in the apartment but had been staying there, he said.
Mr. Ruley was taken to Union Hospital in Elkton, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. His body was to be taken to the state medical examiner's office in Baltimore for autopsy.
Mr. Ward said there were four other families in the two-story,
wood-frame apartment building when the fire broke out, but they escaped unhurt after they were alerted by smoke detectors.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Mr. Ward said electricity to the apartment had been shut off by the Conowingo Electric Power Co. earlier this week because the bill had not been paid.
He described the blaze, which caused an estimated $75,000 in damage to six apartments, as a "slow-burning fire" that smoldered in the floor and walls of one apartment before spreading to neighboring units.
Investigators did not find any portable heaters in the apartment, he said, and there was no gas supplied to the apartment.
Mr. Ruley is survived by his mother, his stepfather and two small children, who all live in North East. Neither the children nor their mother were at the scene when the fire started, Mr. Ward said.